Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A little bit of (almost) forgotten history

Have you ever been to Wendover NV/UT. It's a little border town sitting astride the Nevada and Utah state line on I80.

Now a days, Wendover is home to a number of casinos. Being right across the state line, it's nice and convenient for those who aren't... convenient... to Reno or Las Vegas, I mean. Of course it's wasn't always a casino town.

For those of you who don't like to make a study of history, here's a bit of it for you. Wendover UT used to be home of Wendover Army Air Corp Training Base and then later Wendover Air Field. Most of the airfield's runways are still there and a number of the original fields hangers and buildings still remain. It's a museum of sorts. You see, Wendover was the airfield chosen by then Lt. Col. Paul Tibbets as the staging and training site for the crews and B-29's used in the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That little bit of history happened this month in 1945. That makes Wendover a place that deserves to be remembered and preserved. In fact the pit they used to load the practice bombs into the B-29's is still there off in one corner of that field.

And here's a bit of trivia for all of you. As of 2002, so I've been told, every purple heart that has been awarded for the last 60 or so years has been presented with a medal commissioned back in 1945 for the invasion of main land Japan. You see, all the planning staffs had estimated that there would be a minimum of a millions casualties, wounded and dead, if the allies had to invade the main island. War being what it is, and the military being the way they are, they went ahead and had enough purple heart medals struck to cover the expected invasion. Thankfully, that price never had to be paid. The reason we never had to pay that price? Because Col. Tibbets and his men did their mission, successfully. Those two bombs ended the war.

You see, dropping those bombs saved 1,000,000 or more men having to pay a very high price. That's a good thing.

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